Roswell Combats Fake News

By Tripp Liles

Fake news is all the rage these days. If you are under the impression that it’s all about national politics then you’re missing out. For anyone who follows Roswell politics, and that would be very few of you as polling suggests, then you know even local elections can be rather brutal. The Internet trolls are out there and they know how to sign up for fake facebook accounts to spread really bad information at a rapid pace. Facts have little meaning in the online world, though they do move some nice t-shirts!

In an effort to combat bad information the City of Roswell has launched a new web page to help clarify information and dispel certain misconceptions. The site is www.roswellgov.com/rumors, and it will cite a piece of incorrect information and counter it with an objective statement based on facts. A lot of bad information oftentimes has to do with codes and what the city can and cannot do and normally this applies to issues involving development.

“Every formal decision made in the City of Roswell goes through an official process. There is a system of checks and balances, strict policies and procedures, and measures for oversight,” said Julie Brechbill, Community Relations Manager. “The purpose of this page is not to influence or direct opinion about a particular project or topic; on the contrary, it is to present factual information citizens can use to become better informed about local issues.”

To be fair, trying to keep up with municipal code is rather tedious but its not rocket science either. There are just a few bad actors in the community responsible for these acts and much like the fake news you read about in the national media, this local fake news comes from a small group of people. But those folks create fake, anonymous accounts to propagate the information and make their presence seem much larger than it really is. A simple rule to apply is that if someone is not willing to put their name on something, then you should place no value in what they write.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The City of Roswell will choose topics based on issues reported to them through communication with staff and elected officials as they arrive though social media channels.